Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Roar

Well, today I am roaring about a subject other than beauty that gets my blood pumpin.  I wrote this a couple weeks ago, and I think it is time to share. I believe this is a very serious problem in America, so I wrote it as my final paper for my American Heritage class.  I would love to hear your commentary.

Originally, I chose to focus this paper on the issues surrounding the American Healthcare reform, but this morning after stumbling upon an article on the CNN website, my mind was quickly changed. Rather than writing about healthcare, I would like to write about a problem that is, in my opinion, more threatening to American freedom than the issues of healthcare reform, or even gun control that are so heavily talked about as of late. Interestingly enough, it is an issue that I dare say most Americans are completely unaware of. I understand my boldness in bringing up this issue and that some Americans will be angered with my concerns. However, I feel this issue to be very important to be aware of and understood for all people, from all nations of the world. 

I have lived in the USA since 2007 and although I became keenly aware of this issue shortly after my arrival, I learned just as quickly that it is not something that is safe to talk about. This has upset me, particularly when America prides itself on freedom of speech. The harsh reality is that you are free to speak your opinion, but not without consequence. We see in the lives of Martin Luther King, an activist of the African- American civil rights movement; John F Kennedy, an American president; and Joseph Smith, the first Latter Day prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that freedom of speech and religion does not come without a price. All of these leaders were murdered in innocence in their own land for what they believed and stood for. 

I believe very strongly in what I am about to say, and have learned that it usually goes over poorly when I share my views with my American friends or even family. As a result, I have tried to remain quiet in an effort to not offend, but last night at my graduation commencement at Brigham Young University, one of the speakers challenged us to “be the change that you want to see in the world”. I believe that in writing this I am making my first attempt to make a change in wonderful country who is perhaps unaware of a weakness they have that could ultimately lead to its downfall. 

You may be wondering what CNN article would prompt me to finally speak up on this issue. It was an article on an Mexican- American athlete who after winning silver in the 1500 m track and field event at the 2012 Olympics in London, celebrated by waving the American Flag and the Mexican flag simultaneously. This CNN columnist, Ruben Navarette, was outraged at this act and shared his reasons for feeling so in his article, “U.S. Olympic athlete, Mexican flag?”, Aug 10, 2012. 

Navarette felt that Leo Manzano, the first american man to be on the Olympic podium for this event in 44 years, was egotistical in celebrating his victory as an individual and that his duty was to only represent the United States olympic team. Manzano, a man with citizenship in both Mexico and USA chose to celebrate his victory by waving the flags of the two countries that he loves, his home land and his adopted country. If he had only waved the Mexican flag, I could see why that would be a problem, but he waved both for indeed he represented both: he represented USA, by the jersey he chose to wear, and Mexico by the color of his skin and the language he speaks. Furthermore, being an immigrant myself, I feel that I understand this man. Just because America has adopted an individual does not mean that he must erase the love that he has in his heart for his native land in order to be true to America. 

This article was a good example of the fruits that come from the exclusive and elitest attitude of many Americans. I will never say all Americans, for this would not be true. I have met some Americans who are willing to listen to what I have to say and they do so with respect, interest and a genuine concern for the danger that these attitudes presents to the American people. However, the majority of my experience expressing my concerns, has left me feeling like a terrorist or that I will be blacklisted for being a communist. Hence why I have kept my concerns quiet for so long. 

So, what is the issue here exactly? The issue is the attitude of excessive pride that exists here. I am not talking about the type of pride you feel when your child takes his first steps or when you take a look at all of your grandchildren. I am talking about the pride that is comparative in nature. The “we are better than” and “you want to be us” attitude. 

I must admit, that I was very unaware of how strong this pride was until I moved here in 2007. Both my bother and sister lived in the USA serving missions for the LDS church, and I was sure when they came home that they would have fallen in love with the country they served in as most missionaries do. They were excited to go, unaware of what they would really be facing. Although both of my siblings loved the people they served, they share the same firm resolve to never live here again. This may be shocking for some Americans to hear, for it is quite opposite of what both the school system and the media teaches the young here both directly and indirectly. Directly Americans are taught that this is the greatest nation on the earth and the “American dream” is something that the rest of the world holds dear. Indirectly, other countries are not given a fair light and their differences are not taught or seen as strengths. 

To be honest, I had no idea what the American dream was until I got here. I was out for dinner with some friends and they asked me “Well, haven't you always wanted to be an American?” To be honest, I thought they were joking and so I laughed. They did not think that was funny. When I said an affirmative no, their jaws literally dropped and there was a moment of silence before one of them pleaded, “but it is the American dream?” To be honest, I had no idea what that meant. 

After doing 3 years of school here, I took a year off and went back home to Canada. I debating to never return because it made me cry and have anxiety to even think that I would have to come back and live here for one more year in order to graduate. To make a long story short, I fell in love with on my friends who still lived in America and I moved back for Him. Contemplating marriage was a scary thing for me for I knew it would most likely mean that I was here for good, but ultimately I decided that I loved Him more than I disliked living here. In sharing my concerns with him, I told him how hard it was that Americans think they are the greatest country in the world and they often put down other countries or compare themselves in order to make USA seem better. At first he disagreed with me and did not think that American did that. However, because I voiced my concerns his ears became more alert and now he knows exactly what I speak of. Three times in the past month I have heard Americans say “we are the greatest nation in the world.” The first was during a prayer to open the Spanish Fork Rodeo. The speaker literally thanked God for them being the greatest nation in the world. I must admit I opened my eyes in disgust hoping that someone else would have found that absurd, but I did not see a single person flinch. The second was by Barack Obama, the president himself. Finally, I heard an American Athlete say it on a commercial for the Olympics. Even if one had lived in every nation on this earth for long enough to get the big picture and truly understand the people, their values and heritage, I would not support their declaration of one country being greater than the other. The reality is that many Americans do not know much about the world, and so there is no real substance to such as statement of being the greatest country in the world. I talked with my friend from Scotland yesterday and she was asked by one of her University classmates where she learned to speak such great english. My other friend from Germany was also asked by a friend if they have cars in Germany. Cars? Germany? Really? Similarly my mother was asked by an american mother if we have microwaves in Canada. This is all very sad. Somewhere, somehow, the great people who live on this land are being uneducated or miseducated on the realities of this world and America’s place in it. 

The indirect portrayal of USA as the greatest nation in the world, is perhaps more prevalent but less obvious to detect. The media’s portrayal of the Olympics is a prime example. I have watched a fair amount of the 2012 olympic games here, and I was absolutely shocked at the end of the day to see how many medals China had. China and USA are what you can call neck and neck in the overall medal standings, but I am yet to see on television a chinese person win a medal or stand on the podium or hear their national anthem with pride. Another subtle but powerful way that American adopt this “we are the best” attitude comes from the angle of delivery that facts are taught in school. I have a difficult time in school here because the focus in school is to teach the students what to think, rather than how to think. I understand that it is difficult to teach history without a bias, but I feel that America could do a better job. In my opinion students should be taught the facts with the least amount of bias possible and allow them to form their own opinions. 

All of this is very alarming to me for I feel that this “we are the greatest” attitude puts America in great danger. In Canada we often hear of Americans who travel with Canada stickers or patches on their backpacks. They do this in order to avoid on the Anti-American resentment that is often encountered in many countries. This Anti-Americanism frightens me, and is one of the big reasons why I don’t want to live here. The reality is, however, that I do live here, and I have chosen to do so knowing that much of the world does not like the USA. Instead of running away from the issue I choosing to face it by “being the change that I want to see in the world”. It is important for Americans to understand that countries of the world do not feel warm loving sentiments towards America when Americans consider themselves better or feel it is their God given duty to pressure them to be more like America. This attitude will create enemies even in ones personal life such as interpersonal relationships at school or at work. Would you want to be friends with someone who thought they were better than you? The relationships between nations is no different. 

What makes one country better than another anyway? The problem is that what America values most is not necessarily what other countries value and that is hard for Americans to understand. For example, Canada has been made fun of for the size of our military. This is not necessary, for if it was our priority to prepare for and declare wars, be would probably put our tax money into the military too. According to Wikipedia’s report on the nations military expenditures, the USA spends 711 billion dollars yearly on the military. China spends the next highest, but not even come close to the USA spending only 228 billion each year. If a countries greatness is based on the money it spends preparing for war, then I guess USA is better than Canada and every other country in the world, winning by a long stretch. 

This is all very alarming to me that although USA is a leader in business, the military, research, and sports these areas are not what many countries chose to invest their time, means and energy into. A country may be poor monetarily but have rich communities who take care of each other and who value people more than money and things. It is frustrating to see a country that is highly materialistic, and often unsatisfied claim themselves better than another because of money, education and status. 

Then to make matters worse, they feel the responsibility to pressure other countries to adopt their value system. In fact, I was asked by my university on a final exam to respond in long answer as to how we could convince the eastern muslims to become more westernized. I don’t think I got a good grade on that question, because frankly, I did not respond to the question. I criticized the question instead and suggested that before we go start trying to change the middle east we should first focus on ourselves and our problems. In my opinion the middle east will always resists the western world if we continue to flaunt our women around in magazine and on the internet with nil to no clothing on or glamorize marital infidelity on television and in hollywood. We judge them harshly for executing or stoning a woman who is guilty of adultery and yet in American we kill thousands of innocent babies ever day, many for mere convenience. 

As a Christian who lives in a country founded upon Christianity I think it is imperative that the world stops competing as nations, and starts to work together as people. We are all God’s children. We are all equal in worth and so are the nations that we live on. We are all needed in this world, both nations and people. I believe that God was involved in creating and supports the American constitution and that America has many strengths that the world has and does look up to. I also believe that God was and is involved in the creation of every nation and people and that every nation and people has strengths that the world should look up to and seek to emulate. Our responsibility as citizens, not of our nations, but as brothers and sisters in this world is to learn about each other, try to understand each other and respect each other for our differences instead of using them as a means to prop ourselves up on the idolist and fictitious greatness scale. Democracy, is not God’s way and communism or socialism is not Satan’s way. Throughout God’s Holy Scriptures we see records of God’s people in various types of government. I believe God cares less about the type of government, economy or religion that a country chooses to follow and more about the happiness and moral standing of his children. It is true, that a democracy does a better job of preserving freedom because its fate lies on the will of all people as opposed to just one, but I would rather live in a country with a righteous king that welcomes me into his country as a equal than a democratic country whose people see me as less than. I am trying to practice what I preach and learn to truly love America. I am doing this by trying to understand these people and why they act and think the way they do. I feel that the hearts and intents of Americans are good. Therefore, I hope that in writing this they may become more aware of what their comparative attitude is doing to the hearts of their brothers and sisters in the world who truly love their own countries and their own ways of life. 

In conclusion, the color of our skin, the way we talk, what we choose to eat or do with our spare time are only outward symbols of what a people really are. It can be hard to understand the why of other nations because all we see is the outward symbols of their values and more often than not, they differ from our own. Americans would be wise to give more credit to other nations in the world and look to them as a guide to find solutions to their own issues such as education, health care, or reinstating family values. Most importantly it is imperative that Americans recognize that each country has different strengths and weaknesses and that no country is or ever will be better than another. In doing so, the consequences that would follow are renewed national strength and hope in solving the issues we face today, it would also help other countries to feel more needed and important as they are encouraged to play a more significant role in improving our world even though it is not monetarily. Lastly, it would improve the sentiments that people of the world feel towards America, preventing future terrorist attacks and even wars. This is my plea, hate me or love me for sharing, but time is precious and I could not remain silent any longer.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I am back!!!

Hey guys!!

So, it has been a long time since I blogged and I promise I have legitimate reasons! Well first of all, I got married! yippee! Then, we went on a lovely honeymoon cruise to mexico. After that, we had to move and get settled. Sheesh. I feel rusty. I have not wrote in a long time and I feel like I don't even know how to punctuate properly! (not that I ever did know how :P ) The hardest part is that we did not have the internet, and Christopher and I are not up with the jones and don't have smart phones!

Needless to has not been convenient to blog.  I am back though and I have lots of new exciting ideas that I hope you will all enjoy following. I feel like I have got my negative ranting out and I am ready to start making a real difference in encouraging others to start making positive changes in their lives.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check back!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Apologies

I feel like I need to write a post in order to mend some hurt feelings that have been caused. In a couple of my posts I have made reference to people in the life of my family members who are struggling with the very issues that I talk about in this blog. I did so not realizing how viral the internet really is, and to be honest I did not take the time to sit and think about how I would feel if I were in that person's shoes and saw a post that was placing a judgment on my behaviours.

For this, I am sorry. I realize that there are always two sides to a coin, and unfortunately I only know my side. If I have hurt any feelings in what I have wrote, I am sorry. I hope that you will forgive me knowing that I had no intention to hurt.

After thinking about this, I think I will go back to how I originally started blogging. I am going to tell my story and my story only. I have tried to do that, but unfortunately unless I lock myself in my bedroom for the rest of my life, my story will always be integrated with the story of others. I know this makes things complicated, but I will do my best to keep this blog about me. My struggles.

That being said, I am sitting here on my bed, 9 days til I get married. I have a pile of snotty tissues next to me, my eyes are burning and I keep having to kill ugly spiders. I hope and pray that I will not be so sick by the time we leave for San Diego and that all the spiders in this worlds will die.

 I am still in the fight and I always will be even though I may not always know the best way to go about it. The reality and the overarching theme of this blog is that many of our perceptions of what is beautiful and desirable is MESSED up.

I have vivid memories of staring at pictures in magazines wondering why I did not look like they did. I would grab a measuring tape and measure myself and do the exercises that the magazines promised would make you look the way the model did. I did the exercises religiously and after doing it for the suggested length of time, I still did not look like her and I was not sure why. I never will. I am not her. I am me. I want to teach my children about what makes them important. It is NOT what you look like.

I believe that it is important for women to be physically attractive for men, however I think the problem is when that standard to set too high. This is detrimental for women because we can become slaves to the fashion, beauty, health, and cosmetic surgery industries in order to keep men wanting us. It is detrimental for men because they begin to prefer virtual women over real ones and then either never get to experience the satisfaction of a real relationship or they either explicitly or implicitly encourage us to look more like the virtual woman. Please know that I DO NOT BLAME MEN for this. I see them as victims of these messed up perceptions. Furthermore, not ALL men are like this. In fact, I believe that most of them are not. Same thing goes for women. There are many wonderful women out there who are not obsessed with their appearance. I do not even blame television or magazines or hollywood. ALL of my blame goes towards our number one and only real opponent, Satan. The reality is that everyone on this earth should be on the same team. We should be helping each other instead of blaming each other for our problems. We are in a war between good and evil. I am for the good, but the problem is that sometimes I think we get confused about what is good or better yet, what is best. In my opinion, living life to groom yourself is not God's idea of a beautiful woman.

I love you Daddy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

In light of my last post, where I said that we all just want to be loved and happy, I am going to share with you what makes me happiest.

One of my favourite quotes is by Elder Bendar. He says,

"Most of us know that when we do wrong things, we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives. The Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities."

... he continues...
And it is eternally important for all of us to recognize that both of these essential elements of the journey of mortality—both putting off the natural man and becoming a saint, both overcoming bad and becoming good—are accomplished through the power of the Atonement. Individual willpower, personal determination and motivation, effective planning and goal setting are necessary but ultimately insufficient for us to triumphantly complete this mortal journey. Truly, we must come to rely upon “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah”

I have come to a point in my life where I am about to start a family. I will soon be not just responsible for myself but for others. Sometimes my family has told me that I am "all over the place". I can see why they say that because it is true. I have lived all over the place, I have dated many boys, I have changed my careers many times, I and I have changed my mind many times in relation to what it means to be healthy and happy. It has been hurtful for people to say that to me in a mean way, but I understand where they are coming from. I told my mom this morning that sometimes I feel like the girl that cried wolf. I get so excited about something and then next month I want something different. She assured me that it was ok because I just take stepping stones. She said that all people are like that, however I am just a lot more vocal about it. I think I agree with her. 

Part of why I have been "all over the place" is because I like to explore. I like to know and understand things for myself. I like to see lots of different perspectives before I create my own opinions. I posted the quote from Elder Bednars talk that he gave at BYU (2001 The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality) because I am taking his counsel to heart. 

There are aspects to my life that I have been frustrated with and so I have been trying to change them. Elder Bednar suggest that instead of praying to God to change our circumstances we pray for strength to change our circumstances. 

We work hard and rely on His grace to make it possible. 

I am taking this to heart and trying to focus on all of the positive in this life. This does not mean that I do not see the negative and that I will not continue to try to make the world a better place, but I do it out of love, not out of anger. 

I love you Daddy!

Girls DON'T just want to have FUN

I have not wrote in a while, because I have been in some deep self reflection.  Most people seem to appreciate me for who I am. Most people see that I am not trying to just complain and be negative when I talk about these issues, but that is not everyone. It made me think about myself and my motives for what I do.

Sometimes I write because I am angry, sometimes because I am sad, sometimes because I want to create awareness and new perspectives. Sometimes I write because it helps me make sense of my own thoughts. Sometimes I write because I am confused myself. Sometimes I write to share my joys and my love for God.  Basically, I don't see myself as a complainer. I see myself as a passionate person. The key is for me not stop seeing the things that are wrong in our world, but to find joy living in our world for the reasons that make it so wonderful. There is so much about this world that I love.

I love life. I really do. My foundation of love for life is for the the things that bring me joy. There is so much of that.

My family brings me joy. My new family that Christopher and I will create brings me joy. My friends bring me joy. God's creations bring me joy...the wind, the trees, the clouds, the mountains, the ocean, the animals. I just love it all. When I see these things it reminds me of how much God loves me. He gave us a great earth to live on and great people to share it with. We should be grateful.

Because I love this so much, it brings me pain to see us abusing it and being super wasteful and ungrateful. It hurts me to see so much inequality, people thinking they are better than others because of physical appearance or education. Or just trying to be "better" by working towards the world's standards of success and beauty. When I have been sucked into this pull, I feel like a mouse running on a wheel. I always feel so sad for those mice because they are working so hard, and never really getting anywhere.  You can work so hard to please the world, but it is never good enough. The world is never satisfied.

I talked to my mom this morning and she said that she knows a lady who got a tummy she wants a boob job and then who knows after that...perhaps she will want lip injections or whatever... and WHY??

After talking to her about this, we decided that Humans want two things. To be loved and to be happy. We really all just want to be happy and feel loved. This is why God is so important. When you know that He loves you and you gain your self worth from what He thinks of you then it does not matter what other people think.

I am working on that. I still can be tempted to seek the admiration of others for my body or my clothes, but lets be real... no one likes me for my clothes. Seriously. None of that really matters. The more in style you are, the less money you have and the more ridiculous you will look in 10 years when you look back at pictures.  People may admire you now, but they will soon by laughing at you.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Those are my thoughts for today.

I love you Daddy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to be a Queen!

This is a great video. I am very grateful for the leaders in our church who help us learn how to navigate this world. Sister Dalton is one of those! She shares her feelings on beauty in THIS VIDEO

Friday, April 13, 2012

Correct Motivations

So, I have a couple girl friends from school are angels sent from God. I took this class this semester called "mind body spirit" where we study the relationship between the body, mind and spirit. It is so wonderful. In that class I have found friends who are just as passionate if not more about this subject than I am. Today we met for lunch and discussed some of the issues surrounding this blog. It was very interesting and I feel like we found some great truths. One of those truths is that although there is absolute truth, there is also diversity among us. For example. I have eyes like everyone else, however the shape and color are very different. Seems simple doesn't it? What about in relationship to health. We tend to put health into a very small box and prescribe everyone the same lifestyle of diet and nutrition. Does every girl look great in the same color of eye shadow! Absolutely not!!! Does every girl look great in the same pair of jeans. So... the jeans work for you.. your bum is different than mine.

I believe that in the area of diet and nutrition we need to find what works for us..

HOWEVER!!!! caution! After lunch I went to a bio review and I was once again bothered by the education system here. Soooo bothered. People go to school to get good grades. What the heck. It was quite the culture shock when I got here. School is literally about grades...about GPA... about BA and PhD and uuugggh Barf. Just another way to climb the social ladder and "become someone". Live the "American Dream" of becoming someone. I am sorry, to be honest I don't understand "the American Dream" so I should not dis it, but every time I hear someone say that I get confused. Are we not already some one importan from the moment we are born? It was God that said "men are that they might have joy". Not, men are so that they can spend their life trying to be rich, thin, attractive, successful and busy.

So, I have held back on my feelings about America, because I know that this offends people, but today I got fed up. I am not hating on America as a nation. I believe that if the nation was filled with honest people who gave Glory to God instead of to their flag then this would be a better place to live.

The reason why I got on that topic is because I just came from a study session where the TA went over the entire test, question by question helping us prepare for the final. School is about grades and test. I prefer it to not be that way. I started off at BYU with a love of learning and classmates would get frustrated with me because in study groups I would open up discussions on topics that were "not on the test" so we were "wasting our time".

Now, after being here for while I understand what that means. We were wasting our time, because the school is not about the love of learning. It is about learning to get grades, or rather cramming to get grades. Much like cramming to fit into your swimsuit? This is where the correlation comes. Working hard because of "shoulds" or "have to's" drains all of the joy out of life.

I used to LOVE class because I would get to learn, but after being worked to the bone for all the wrong reasons, I go to class (if and when I even do!) so that I will know what is on the test. Isn't that sad! Ok, so lets see if you can follow me. My love for learning is dulled to the point where I don't even feel it at all because I am so focussed on what needs to get done in order to get through the class. My motivation to go to class is soooooooooooo small when it is just to get good grades. Since I have caught on to this attitude, my grades have dropped and I hate school. However, when I cared less about grades I did alllll my readings, I went to ALL of my classes and I LOVED school! I got all A's too. I did not even care that much. My A was just a nice bonus to all the things that I was blessed to learn at BYU which is, by the way, an AMAZING school.

I have noticed that it is the same thing with your body and what you choose to eat and how you choose to move it. So... if your motivation to eat healthy and exercise is to have a certain body appearance you have a pretty lame motivation. Then, when you get that body size that you have been working for...where did the motivation go!? Now how do you maintain. So.. you either keep the same motivation and believe that skinnier is better or bigger muscles is better and so at least you will not go back from where you came from!??

So, what is the proper motivation? We talk about oh.. well you should just be healthy to be healthy and take care of your body. I don't even agree with that. I think that we should let go of caring what our bodies look like...much like caring what our grades are and instead find joy in loving to learn and find joy in loving to eat and loving to move.

Think about it. If you could reawaken the childhood desire to play and have fun, then it would be fun to go play soccer or go for a run or learn a new sport or just play! No more "must work out" chore. What about if you truly loved eating? Perhaps you would wait until you were actually hungry to eat because you know it would taste better? Perhaps you would not eat too much because you knew that you were going to go and play basketball afterwards? Perhaps you would not overeat on junk food because it makes you feel gross and cause you to feel angry at some of your favourite foods? Perhaps you would not even want to eat sugar because it desensitizes your taste buds causing other foods to not taste as good. Perhaps you would not be so obsessed with food because you were NEVER going to tell yourself that you CANT eat something. Perhaps you would feel more love and joy in your life. Perhaps you would feel gratitude every time you ate for the job that provided the means to eat it and the farmers that worked hard to grow it, and the God who blessed you to have it in the first place. Who knows!! That will be your own eyeshadow. Your love for food will mean a different lifestyle than my love for food. We will eat different things at different times, but the one thing in common is that we will be happy and at peace. When you truly love someone or something AND are being selfless then you do not abuse them when you learn how to love. I think some don't mean to abuse people and would change if they knew how to love. I think that we should learn again how to love food. Stop hating on it. It is our friend. It allows us to live and grow and love.

Perhaps our eating experience could revolutionize into love instead of shame and guilt. Perhaps we would feel more love and appreciation for our bodies instead of start to hate them kind of like I started to hate school when I was going for the wrong reasons.

anyway, these are my thoughts. I think I am on to something.. not I just need to apply it. God can help me to change my thoughts. Life is not enjoyable when you are walking around just trying to do everything you are "supposed" to do. I want to do things out of love. That is when I am happiest.

I love you Daddy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don't hit my sister!

So, as I am sitting here doing my homework, I noticed that my room was kind of stinky. ha ha. Bedrooms can start to do that if you are not careful. Anyway! So, I opened my window and because it is a beautiful day, I have noticed that the children in my neighbourhood are taking full advantage of the sun, unlike me who is at my desk. I could hear the children playing from my window, in fact I still can. It is a delightful sound. I thought it was so cute...I heard one boy yell "HEY! Don't hit my sister!" I thought that was just so precious. If only we could be more like children and quick to defend each other from harm instead of worrying what another will think about us. I was bullied in junior high, and I remember wishing that someone, be it a teacher or a student, would have said. "Hey! leave her alone. She does not deserve that." I hope that little boy continues to protect his little sister. It feels good to know that your Dad or brothers or husband will stand up for you when there is a it physical or emotional!

It also got me thinking about how much I love the sound of children, not just of them being happy but of them being sad and angry too. Emotions in children are an opportunity to teach. I want to teach my future children what it is they are feeling and how to express them appropriately. I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a negative emotion. However, we need to learn how to identify them, feel them at the right moments and then express them appropriately. These are skills that we can teach our children! So, if my daughter is angry and hits. I can help her acknowledge that she is angry, determine if she is justified in feeling angry in that situation, teach her that hitting is not an appropriate response even if it was an appropriate time to feel anger and then help her come up with other ways to communicate how she is feeling that will not hurt another.

I think we tend to think that pain either physical or emotional are bad, but I think they are great! I am so grateful for them! Pain is an indicator that something is not functioning well. So, I get a headache...usually it is a reminder to me that I have not been drinking water like I should. When I feel lonely, perhaps I am not reaching out to others as much as I should. When I am angry, perhaps there is some inner healing that needs to take place. The answer is not always to put a bandaid on it or a pain killer to mask the pain. I try to find the source of the pain, and learn to prevent future pain. Pain helps me grow, and when I endure it well I feel good about myself. I can do hard things. I like being in tune with myself. Addictions often start from attempts to distract yourself from pain, whether that be a behavior or a chemical. Perhaps if we did not see pain as such a bad thing and learned how to endure it we would have such a strong instinct to flee from it.

I think that it is also important that we are patient with another's pain. We are all different. For example, someone kicking me in the crotch would not hurt me nearly as bad as it would hurt my brothers. We are different across genders and also within our own gender and I think that we must be patient and understanding with each other. Imagine me disregard by bother when he gets hit in as Kung Foo Panda would say "his tenders" and think he is a wuss and a complainer because it doesn't hurt me! When someone says it hurts, it hurts. We don't need to understand in order to be compassionate.

It makes me think about my eating issues. People sometimes like to say. "just eat!" It is so simple! or...just eat healthy foods! It is so simple!! When they say that, I think. "Great! I am so happy that it is simple for you. You can remain a positive example for me. I hope to one day have it simple, but right now it is not. Right now? I hurt. Right now? I am lost. Right now I am confused and overwhelmed and it would help me a lot to just know that you care and tell me that I will make it if I just keep trying." Feel that pain! Don't run away from it by eating or hurting yourself or another. It will not take away the pain, and most times it will just give you more! I pray for all of you who are in pain and I hope that through this blog you will learn to heal the pain you already have and change your life and thoughts so that you can eliminate some unnecessary pain in your life that you have by not feeling good enough in your body. No one is perfect, but we are all good enough for constant and unconditional love.

Well that is all for today! Thanks for reading. I am writing it for you.

I love you Daddy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Leslikae, my newest mom!

In 26 days I am going to officially have another mom. This is Leslikae Thomas, my new mom. At first when I met Leslikae I was uneasy because she is very different from my mom and so I did not know what to think. However, as I have gotten to know her I have grown to understand her and love her so much.

Over the rest of my life I will get to know her even more than I do now, but I want to share a little bit about why I appreciate Leslikae so much.

One of my biggest fears in getting married was that I would marry into a family where the mom would be a crazy controlling lady. Leslikae is the complete opposite of a crazy controlling lady. In fact, I could not have asked for a more amazing mother in-law. She is so sweet and kind and thoughtful and although many times she knows best, she does not try to force anyone to be or think the way she does. When I think of Leslikae I think of the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that says we should act by " persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, by love unfeigned. "

An example of Kae's thoughtfulness is that she knows that I love dried fruit and the tomatoes from her garden. Many times she has sent me home with a whole bag of tomatoes or dried fruit. I appreciate the food, but even more so I appreciate her thoughtfulness and act of love.

Leslikae is a very talented lady who I am convinced could be a very "successful woman" according to the world. However, Leslikae chose to put off the praise of man and instead chose the praise of God by bringing seven of His spirit children to earth to have a body. One of those children is particularly special to me. :) I am eternally grateful for Leslikae for loving Christopher. In doing so, she taught him how to love.

In a tender talk with Christopher about his mom, she shared that most things that are good in him are a direct result of his mom. He said that it was through his mom that he learned compassion. Growing up, Christopher always felt safe to talk and share with his mom. She was never too busy for him and when he needed to talk, she gave her complete attention. He says that she gives the perfect amount of feedback to. She would share some of her feelings with him and then encourage Chris to find his own way. This is what Christopher does for me, and when I realized that this came from his Mom's example, my heart was overwhelmed with love for her.

Another thing that we all love about Leslikae is her happy nature. She loves to tell a good story and giggles most of the way through it. It is so cute. There is nothing that she loves more in life than being with her family. It is very evident that nothing comes before her family, not a church calling, not her job, and not herself. She is an extremely selfless lady, and it has been through her example that I am learning how to be more kind and gentle.

I feel so blessed to have her in my life. I think it is such a great opportunity to have a new mom. I owe my whole life to my mothers, and although I am not living with them anymore or depend on them physically as I did as a child, I will forever need their powerful examples in my life. They are the true meaning of beauty.

I hope that all of the mothers and future mothers who are reading this blog learn to value themselves more in the things that matter and less in the things that don't. You might think...oh but what you look like really does matter. I would agree with that. In fact, I strongly agree with that. What you look like is very the world; however, you will not be stepping on a scale during the judgment day when you stand before Christ to be judged for where your heart was while you lived on this earth. Therefore, to the one that we should be most concerned with pleasing, it does not matter at all what you look like.

After having lived a life consumed with weight loss I feel sad for those who live life obsessed about their own body. It is such an empty feeling and it is never good enough.

Obsession about my body made me selfish and there is was no happiness in that. There was temporary pleasure when I saw new muscle, or dropped a pant size, but that joy only lasts a moment or two. The joy of love and families was designed to last forever. I believe that our lives would be a lot more full and rich if everyone focussed on others instead of ourselves.

My mothers are helping me to do that. Their selfless examples in being mothers who cared about their children more than themselves has helped me to become the person I am today.

I believe that in God's eyes, there is not much else more precious in this world than a mother and I wish that the world saw it that way too instead of being seen as lazy if we choose to stay home and raise our children. That is work!!

Women are amazing and we don't need to feel like we need to be like men in order to be powerful. In conclusion here are a couple of my favourite quotes on mothers..

Sisters, we, your brethren, cannot do what you were divinely designated to do from before the foundation of the world. We may try, but we cannot ever hope to replicate your unique gifts. There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman. (M Russell Ballard)

Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to the temple—all of which teach an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand “steadfast and immovable” regarding the issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail. (Sheri Dew)

I love you Daddy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Now that's a Woman!

So, this blog is slowly evolving, but I decided that I think I have ranted and raged enough about the media and how it messes us up. It skews our perspective on what is important about love and human beings or even just life in general. So, I have decided to feature some of the most powerful mothers who have inspired me in my life. When I hear mom's complain about their bodies, it breaks my heart because a child could care less about what their mom's body looks like. They love their mom's purely and innocently and love doing all they can to make their mom happy. A mother's love changes the world and yet so many mothers are spending too much time worrying about their bodies. I don't know about you, but I have never heard of a flat stomach changing the world. Not even just changing the world but have you ever heard a child say, I love my mom because she doesn't have flabby arms. All the other mom's have flabby arms, but my mom. She is flab free! HA! ya right. Why not? Because none of that crap matters to those in life that truly matter.

This is my mom.
She is such an amazing woman. Let me tell you why. My mom is one of the sweetest people that I know, but she is also one of the strongest woman I know. She is what you would call sweet and spicy. I think what i love most about my mom is how real she is. She is super authentic and NEVER and I mean NEVER pretends to be what she is not. Because she is like this, I think she unintentionally allows others to be their authentic selves.

Our home growing up was a place where guests became part of the family. Her attitude is "I am going to not make you feel like you are home by say "make yourself at home" in a sweet voice but rather, you are just as welcome in our home as any other and if you want to feel like you are at home then you will be treated that way. I have never seen my mom offer a glass of water or give a polite laugh. She just lets the guest walk into the pantry if they are hungry and always gives them a bed to sleep in. TRUST ME! I have done my time sleeping on the couch so that a guest could feel at home in a bed.

Another thing I absolutely adore about my mom is how much she loves children. We tease her because she already has a little play station for her future grand children and this was before any of us were even seriously dating someone! If you were to see my mom at church you would most likely see her with someone's baby. What I love most about this is that I got to follow her example! Because of her example, all of her children are very kind to children.

My mom is super tough and she raised us to be tough as well. (I think I have become more wussy over the years since being away from her though). She would physically work side by side with my dad on the house or in the yard and never ever complained about something being too hard. I know my Dad appreciates her for that too.

Another one of my favourite things about my mom that I will forever cherish is her ability to instill confidence in others. I can honestly say that my mom has NEVER doubted me. If I believed that I could do something, she believed in me too. And, if I didn't believe I could do something, she would believe in me anyways. I know that a lot of my success in life comes from my mom encouraging me to do hard things. I graduated when I was 17 and she encouraged me to move out and get experience living on my own. She told me "there are more important things than money." Without her teaching me that, I am confident that I would not have had the courage to move to another country knowing no one. She then gets the credit for me finding the man of my dreams! Even when we were learning how to walk or swim she would let us struggle a little knowing that it was good for us. She reminds me of God in this way because God loves us so much that he lets us struggle because he knows that it is for our own good. My mom does not try to "protect me" from pain or failure. Even in dating when I would get scared to invest myself, she would say. "Sherry what is the worst that can happen? You will get your heart broken. Whoopie. You have been through that before and you know you can get through it."

Another example is how I wanted to be a gymnast when I was little. I would take off all of the pillows from the couch and throw myself backwards until I learned how to do a backflip. Recently I asked her how that did not freak her out and why she did not tell me to stop because I could break my neck. She responded with, I just knew you could do it.

One last example was a couple of winters ago when we were skiidoing. There was a steep mountain that I was afraid to climb, because it was well..steep and the trail was narrow. I knew I would have to go at a high speed to get up and steer really well. Then my mom was like (as she was sitting on the back) "You should go up the mountain!" I responded with "really? It looks scary." She said calmly and firmly "Ya you can do it!" and almost made me feel silly that I ever even doubted myself. Her belief in me (especially considering she was on the skiido with me) gave me the courage to do it and I did! And it was so fun!

Another thing that I love about my mom is that she is disciplined. When my mom decides that she is going to do something, she does it. She used to drink and smoke and did not go to church, but after she got married she knew that if she was going to have kids, she was going to raise them in a positive home. So, literally she stopped drinking and smoking all at once. No relapse, no patch, no alcoholics anonymous, nothing. She has a very powerful drive and mind. When she wants something, there is no question about it.

Man I could go on and on , so I will. Another thing that is great about my mom is that she is an amazing homemaker. I grew up in a home that was ALWAYS clean. Well...we would mess it up, so I guess that is a lie, but everyday she would pick up after us. She also ALWAYS had a meal for us. I can only remember a very few times that we ever ate out. What is even more amazing about this is that my mom hates cooking!! ha ha. Isn't that amazing that a woman can make her family a meal everyday and not like doing it!

My mom has always been my best friend. We have so much fun together. We have went on trips together, ran races together, and of course we have done lots of shopping together. I remember when I was in track she used to call me her leach because I would not leave her side. She would say, oh one day when you are teenager you are going to want to hang out with your friends over me. I remember I really don't think it will. It didn't. I did hang out with my friends sometimes, but I always preferred to be with her. I think I hung out with my friends because I was supposed to. That is one of the reasons why I have moved so far away from home. When I am near her, I don't feel like I need other friends. My family are my best friends.

If you know my mom, you would agree that she is a hoot. She is so playful. She says "people say I act like a teenager, but I say that as long as I getting zits I can act like one." ha ha .. so funny. Here is some evidence of that. We went on a trip to Quebec and we discovered the power of the hand dryers... so this is what we did.

Finally another reason why my mom is amazing is because she loves me. She showed this last weekend when she surprised me by driving 17 hours south to come to my bridal shower. It was so sweet. She brought my younger sister with her too. What a sacrifice. I am convinced that there is nothing more godlike that a woman can do than be a mother. Even if one does not have kids, we can be a mother to the children around us and aren't we all children? I am so grateful for the selfless Love that my mom gave me. She was and is not perfect. No one is, however, she was, is and always will be the perfect mom for me. I sincerely hope and pray that one day I can be like her.

I love you Mommy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Internal Healing

It has been a hard road. I learned last night that in order to be fully recovered I need to ask God to heal my wounded heart. It can be very hard to do well in life when a broken heart is holding you back. I have experienced, like most in this world, a lot of heart ache. Be it break ups, someone telling me that I am too skinny, someone telling me that I am fat, someone comparing my body to my sister's bodies, someone making fun of me, someone breaking a promise, someone lie to me, someone gossip about me, someone abandon me when I need them most and one of the worst for me is when someone misunderstands me and does not listen when I try to help them understand the truth.

All of this is hard, and it will never go away. The nature of life is that if you want to be close to people and feel love, they will unintentionally or intentionally hurt you. I have learned that the more you love someone the more potential there is to hurt. It is important to be exceptionally kind to those who love you most because they care more about your love and approval than anyone else. Within your own family, your words have the potential to build or destroy a life. For example, if some stranger says...hey ugly come here! I would just look at them and laugh...thinking wow what is their problem. However, if my fiancé said that I would probably cry.

I have learned though, that life is better if your worth comes from God instead of what everyone else thinks of you. I would like to be at the point so that if my financé or mom would call me ugly, I would also think it was their problem. This is hard to do and the reality is that I will feel pain in the future. I want to go about things differently though. I want to take it immediately to God in Prayer so that he can heal me. Spiritual wounds are like physical wounds in that they need to be tended to right away if you don't want an infection to spread.

Unattended spiritual wounds are super painful and they interfere with relationships both with yourself and with others. I have not done this in the past. I think I have felt like I must remember the pain in order to protect me from future pain. I am learning to not be afraid of people. They only have power over me if i let them. Like my Professor Dr. Lockhart says, "What you think of me is none of my business." I could not agree more.

I love you Daddy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gotta Check my Motives

I have not posted for a while because my sisters and mom surprised me by driving down to Utah for my bridal shower! It was sooo fun and I was so happy. Life really is about family. There is nothing more important in this world to me.

Today I went to class and studied the very topic that I have studied everyday for the last 5 years, the topic that has destroyed many lives and almost taken mine, the topic that is so simple and yet seems so complex. This topic envokes fire in my heart and mind and when I discuss it with others I am not sure wether I want to scream out of passion, cry our of helplessness, or just throw my hands up in the air and walk away. It is this annoying little creature that has followed me my whole life and I am not sure if I should live and ignore it, run away from it and hope it never finds me or throw it off a cliff so that it dies and never has the power to reproduce.

There was a time when it was blurry in my mind and many say.. oh this is just so complex of a subject. I disagree. I think that it can be summed up in one word; Selfishness.

Today I got home from my class exhausted. I just spent over an hour studying a subject that no one really understands and then spent the next hour and a half after class discussing it with students. Seriously. What subject in university is that interesting that students would spend an extra hour and a half discussing it after class!??? One girl even suggested that we go out for lunch to discuss it more.

I study health. I study to teach health. Most my classes promote health. I love health, and yet I hate that word. I hate the word health. I hate what our world has done to it. The best comparison would be to the word love. People do ridiculous things in the name of the most powerful force we have access to. LOVE. My professor told me that he was working with a client once who said that he had a plan. His girlfriend did not want to marry him, so he was going to take her away and make love to her. Then she would really see how much he loved her. Really?? You think raping a girl is an act of love?? You, mr. do not understand love. You are trying to manipulate someone into loving you!!!!!!! You are selfish. Is that not what many do in the name of health??Health is not a tool that you use in order to have an envied body, health is not an excuse that you use when you don't want to date a fat girl and just say " I am just not attracted to unhealthy girs" and then you go and date a girl who is skinny but eats fast food everyday. (true story)

Ok, so basically,

I don't wake up every morning saying "I am going to be someone".
I don't eat to distract myself from this difficult life that I am too coward to face.
I don't under eat so that I can be skinny and men will like me.
I don't exercise so that I can flaunt my legs in my new dress.
I don't eat nutritious foods so that others will admire my self control and discipline.
I don't do my hair and makeup in the morning so that I can feel prettier than the next girl.
I don't use my arms to hit.
I don't use my hands to flip someone the bird.
I don't use my mouth to tell someone that they should be different.
I don't use my feet so run a marathon and be admired.
I don't use my head as an opaque compartment to hide my mean thoughts.
I don't use my emotions to manipulate others into feeling sorry for me.
I don't use my nose to snort drugs.
I don't use my ears to listen to people who encourage me to use my body for the wrong reasons.

I wake up every morning and go forward thinking outside of myself
I eat when I am hungry so that I can stop thinking about myself.
I don't overeat so that I am not tempted to think bout myself.
I exercise so that I am alert and ready when someone needs me.
I eat nutritious food so that I give my future babies the best shot at life without physical limitations.
I do my hair and makeup and clean myself so that people can feel comfortable around me.
I use my arms to hug another.
I use my hands to wipe tears.
I use my mouth to encourage.
I use my feet to stand while I teach.
I use my head, to learn.
I use my emotions to give meaning to prayers.
I use my nose to appreciate the smell after it rains.
I use my ears to listen when one needs to be understood.

I believe that there is a lot of confusion in our world on what it means to be healthy. There is so much more to well being than your physical health. Going back to enology that I have used before, what good is a sharp knife if it never gets used for what it is for? Similarly, WHAT GOOD IS A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN if she only thinks about herself. What good is a beautiful woman if all she cares about is that she looks beautiful and people look at her? What good is a beautiful woman who always thinks she is ugly and then refuses to give of herself even when another needs her? What good is mankind if all we do is walk around thinking about ourselves.

So, after 26 years of banging my head against the wall trying to attain some ideal weight or health and trying to sort out the differences or correlation of the two. After trying to be attractive and good because when I am skinnier, surely he will love me. I am done with thinking about myself. I was not put on this earth to think about myself. I have had a hard enough life that i would like to live the rest of mine trying to make another's life better.

I have lived my life trying to be beautiful, trying to feel beautiful. I don't think that is a bad thing, but I think I have been taught for many years the wrong way on how to achieve that. You don't feel loved by making someone have sex with you. You don't feel loved by being attractive either.

I am convinced that I am here to love, not to be loved. I am here to love, not to be healthy. I am here to love, not to be skinny. I am here to love, not to exercise. I am here to love, not to try to make a name for myself.

I believe that the reason why exercise, nutrition, and physical attractiveness, though so important, are so messed up is because of our motives behind them. Sex is not bad, but when a man uses it to control another there is almost nothing more evil than that. Money is not bad, but using it to build yourself and withhold from the poor is satanic. Health is not bad, but using it as an excuse for you to manipulate your body so that you can get attention is horrible. The body is so powerful and was not intended to assist you in selfish desires. You don't use it to manipulate people into loving you. You don't use it to manipulate people to buy your beer. You don't use it abuse children. You don't use it to get attention. You don't use it to indulge in selfish passions and pleasures. You don't use it to adorn and worship yourself through clothes and makeup and hairstyles. AND you do not use another's body for these same purposes. You do not marry a "10" so that people will think that you are worth something. You don't use another's body be it on a computer screen or in your own bedroom to please you and only you.

I find it interesting that the world objectifies the body. What good is a body without a spirit. I don't care how beautiful a girl is, no fashion photographer would want to take her picture if she was dead. Ironically enough, what they encourage models to do leads to death.

Well, all of that may or may not have made sense, but so it is. Just doing the roar.

I love you Daddy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Body is a Temple

Here in Utah, there are many many temples. This is where I will be getting married... well not this exact temple, but one in San Diego. Temples are a sacred place. They are quiet and peaceful and free from any worldly distractions. The temple is where we make sacred covenants with God. We promise to serve him and keep his commandments and in return he promises us eternal blessings. When Christopher and I get married in the temple we will make a promises not just to each other but with God. A temple marriage allows us to be "sealed" together not just until we die but for eternity! Then when we have children they are "born under the covenant" and we can be together forever as a family unit.

We also perform these ordinances for people who have already died and no longer are with their body so that if they chose to accept Christ in heaven, the work has been done "in proxy" for them. It is a way that we can serve our ancestors who paved the path for our wonderful lives. So, needless to say, the temple is a very important and special place. It is very clean and very beautiful. The reason I speak of temples is because in the Old Testament they had temples too! Furthermore, Paul teaches that our bodies are like temples. He says in Corinthians 3.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Temples should be beautiful and pure. (NOT THE WORLD'S DEFINITION OF BEAUTIFUL). Each temple is unique in appearance, and so are our bodies.... for example....all of the following images represent beauty because they are all of temples whose purpose is the exchange of Love. None of them look the same but their purposes are the same with the central sentiment of LOVE!

Alberta Temple
The Love Between a Mother and Daughter
Salt Lake City Temple

Love between the young and the old.
San Diego Temple (Where Chris and I will be married!)
Sister Love

Jordan River Temple
The love of a mother for her unborn child.

I don't always feel like a temple, but I know that my body is special. It allows me to do a lot of things. I can hug, and wipe away tears. I can give comfort to the sick. I can write a blog! I can sing and dance. I can play with a child. I can help an old person stand up. I can teach. I can create life. There is so much more to my body then what I look like.

I love you Daddy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Addictions are a horrible thing, they are not like a thief that suddenly breaks into your house and the swiftly takes all he can in a few passing moments. Addictions, although they rob you of everything that is good in your life, do so in a very gradual almost unnoticeable way. Addictions appear as harmless on the outside, and are often camouflaged by short lived pleasure which can be mistaken for happiness. Addictions are cowards. They like to hide their ugly face behind lies, closed doors and false confidence. There is one secret that addictions are aware of, but they will do everything they can to not let you in on the little secret. In order to hid the secret they will make you believe that once they have you in their grasp, you are stuck forever; you may be given moments to rest, but never will you be released from being their slave. It is time to set things straight and share the truth about addictions.
The truth is that addictions are like bullies. They like to seem strong and powerful, but when put up against something stronger, they shrivel. They want you to think they are strong in order to protect themselves from the weak selves that they know they are deep down. Their power is not self supporting but rather it is dependent upon the yielding of another. The perpetual yielding of one to an addiction eventually leaves one trapped. Addictions like to pretend that just a little bit more may finally be enough and so the slave gives in once more only to find once again that its master is never satisfied and always wants more.

How then is one ever to be freed from an addiction? It is simple. One must choose another master. Until this happens the addicted with give all its strength trying to break free only to hurt himself more. Spencer W Kimball shares a story that demonstrates how difficult and yet simple it can be to let go of an addiction. He first describes a group of monkey catchers who attempted to use nets to catch the monkeys but it would injure them. Instead they came up with a new strategy where they would place a nut in a box with a hole big enough for the monkeys to place their hand in. When the men left, the monkeys would come down and examine the boxes. Quickly they learned that there was a nut in the box and so they reached their little hands in and took hold. When the monkey tried to withdraw the nut from the box they were unable because their little fists with the nut inside were now to large for the hole. He goes by saying “At about this time, the men would come out of the underbrush and converge on the monkeys. And here is the curious thing: When the monkeys saw the men coming, they would shriek and scramble about with the thought of escaping; but as easy as it would have been, they would not let go of the nut so that they could withdraw their hands from the boxes and thus escape. The men captured them easily.” (The False Gods We Worship, Aug 1977) Monkeys are not stupid or powerless, but the problem was that their desire to have the nut was stronger than the desire to be free.
What is the nut of your addiction? Are you trying to be free but can’t seem to let go of the nut? Addictions can make it very difficult to see clearly, but with the help of leaders and loved ones who are not trapped, they can encourage us to let it go.
In choosing to let go, we are choosing to not work harder, but to walk away. We choose to leave our old task master behind and choose another who is more loving and even more powerful.
It is not enough for the monkeys to just let go of their nut. They must also flee from the monkey catchers in order to not be trapped. We too must flee from the dangers that surround us. If addictions are like the nut, them the monkey trappers are like Satan. They want us to focus on the nut or addiction in order to not be aware of his evil presence slowly approaching us. As long as he can keep us distracted, he can remain hidden and disguised and then ultimately take hold on us. Imagine he and his followers had us surrounded, even if we were to let go of the nut and flee we would ultimately fall right into his hands. The nature of a trap is that you have no way out. Satan is wise and he has mastered the art of trapping.
However, there is a power that can deliver one from the traps of Lucifer. He knows this too, and he is doing all that he can to make people believe that Jesus Christ was not the Savior of the world. Jesus Christ came to earth so that we could have a way out of the traps. It is powerful. It is real. A smart monkey would ask God for help. God would reach down his arms and swoop the monkey away from those who were seeking to destroy. He would not be angry at the monkey, but how many times do we resist asking God for help because we feel like He would be angry with us. God is a god of love, not of hate. Jesus Christ was sent to earth in order to save, not to condemn.
I love Jesus Christ. I understand his role, and I am grateful for His power. I have not used all of the power available to me, mostly because of my pride. It can be hard to let go and let someone else love you. Let someone else save you. Sometimes we want to do it on our own, thinking that once we have made it, then God will say. “Wow, you are amazing. I had to help so many people, but you? You, Sherry. You did it on your own.” Sure, that might be a great idea but the reality is that I cannot do it on my own. I depend completely on Jesus Christ. If I want to be happy and free, I must let him in. If the world wants to be happy and free, we must let him in. I write these things in the name of Jesus Christ, my brother, my master, my savior, my friend.

I love you Daddy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Diets are Dumb.

I took a class once on family processes. In it I learned that often times parents have beliefs of what works and does not work for in disciplining their children. If the child does not respond in the expected way, the parents often just try harder instead of think...mmm maybe this is not working....maybe I should try something else? For example, a child is home past his curfew, so the parent makes the curfew earlier or takes away privileges in an attempt to control the child. That may work for some children but not for the free spirit, that child will probably just rebell more, so then the parent restricts more, so the child rebells more and cycle continues until the relationship is completely strained and life is miserable for both the parent and the child. What needs to happen in a situation like this is for the parents to take a step back and revaluate what it is they are doing and what they could try different. As scary and against their beliefs it may be, giving the child complete freedom is often the answer. Many children want to know that you trust them to be responsible, as they are becoming an adult the last thing they was to do is have someone else control them. With REASON!

I feel that this is the same horrible cycle that I have been stuck in for so many years. My body is not what I think it should be, and I expect myself to eat "Perfect" everyday every meal. When I don't, because that is impossible, I get upset at myself and make more restrictions until eventually my relationship with food and myself is totally destroyed. I don't trust myself and so I feel fear every time food is around, I start to hate food because it is the horrible thing that is ruining my life and I am bitter against it that it has power over me. I NEED it to survive. So, I abuse it. I can tell you that this is NOT a fun way to live your life and it is a dangerous road to be on. There are many many things wrong with this. I will go through them. One, like I have said before, it is important to know that the diet and fitness industry are driven by MONEY. Just like fashion, the trends must change or else people will be content and no longer buy the latest. MONEY. They want your money. They feed off of good intentioned people who are trying to take care of their bodies and mess up their heads about what is good and what is bad.

I remember when I was a kid and it was time to have dessert, I was genuinely and completely excited. I enjoyed every bite and and experienced no guilt or self defeating thoughts. I was thin and active. Life was full of joy....then gradually life became about work and trying to be good enough. Play gradually turned into "WORKing out" and cookies gradually turned into Medication. I got overt and covert messages from my well intentioned family that I should not eat sweets especially when it was the off season. I began to believe that fat made me less than, and goodness gracious....who would want that!!!!! No one wants that! So, it started with sugar...sugar became the enemy. No more excitement to eat, eat slowly began to be a cycle of restrain, indulge, repent and repeat. Then it was restrain more, indulge more, repent , repeat. Restrain even more, indulge even more, repent , repeat. Finally, I realized that if a cycle wants to be broken, one or all of them need to be broken.

Restrain? Yup. Break it. There is no such thing as bad food. As intelligent as your body is, it does not know how to read food labels. It does not know the name of whatever you are eating. It does not send off "Store fat alarms" when you eat a hamburger. Nor does your body know how to tell time. It does not tell say....oh Sherry you ate at 8:02 and you know that your metabolism stops at 8. It is going to have to go into STORAGE! MUA HA HA! Suits you right Sherry for feeding me after 8. Suits you right for feeding me a piece of pizza instead of eating that cheese and meat and veggies in the form of a sandwich. So, the body many not know how to read, it is super super intelligent. We, thinking we know better often ignore it though when it is trying to talk to us.

Ever watch a baby. They are sooooo in tune with when they are hungry and when they are full. I believe that we still have that ability but diets and rules and guilt and shame do a good job of encouraging us to ignore them. The body has both hunger and satiety clues and if you listen closely you can hear them! These are the mechanisms in our body that God has given us to guide how much we eat. He also gave us appetites and food preferences. This is what guides us on knowing what you eat. I have known this principle for years, but I have been afraid to live this way because there are two things that you must accept in order to live this way. One, you must let go of trying to look like someone else, even and especially if that someone else is a past you. Second, you must be ok with not being "perfect" in your eating behaviors. Is there anyone out there that get exactly 8 hours of sleep every night to the very minute?? The great thing about the body is that it is good at finding balance, so listen to it! If you oversleep one day, you probably wont be so tired the next day unless your body really needs it! If I was like... OK I MUST get 8 hours of sleep every night....NO MORE NO LESS...while I was training for my marathon I would have been miserable. After my long runs my body would sleep for so long!!!! I have also noticed that I need more sleep when I have went through an emotionally straining couple of days. I trusted my body with sleep and that is how it should be with food too. If you eat a lot one day, don't worry! If you are consistently listening to your hunger and fullness cues then you may not be as hungry the next day.

When I let myself eat when I am hungry and then stop when I am comfortable, I DO NOT feel the need to indulge because my body knows that I am not going to starve it. I feel peace and I can focus on the more important things in life, like people.

Also, there is no repentance. I don't feel guilty for things that I used to feel guilty for and so there is no exercise to burn off calories, there is no throwing up, there is no laying in bed swearing to myself that I will never do that again.

I will stress though, in order to do this, I HAD to accept me for what I was. I also had to let go of the urgent desire to have a certain body, realizing that God does not care about what I look like. Sure, lots of men might think you should look different, but if you are living a life of joy and love and finding satisfaction from taking care of yourself and others, then he sure is missing out. You don't want a man to marry you for your body just as much as man does not want to be married for his money. Children of God are much more than a body and a career.

So, in summary, I know in a previous post I said that I ate what I planned and planned what I ate, but I don't do that anymore. This has always been my ultimate goal to eat intuitively but I did not believe that I could do it. With the help of the program that I posted last post, and the support of my loved ones I have finally come to this point. It still is a little scary but as long as I keep my thoughts in check, I will be ok. There are triggers for me that can throw me back so easily into my old ways of thinking. Some of those are when others around me are trying to lose weight, or avoid "bad" foods. Food did not hurt me. I hurt myself. Don't blame foods like sugar and butter for your unhappiness. And don't blame your unhappiness on your excess weight. Don't even blame yourself. You, like I, have probably put your trust in and found "health" information from sources that appeared to be looking out for your best interest (magazines, television, movies, advertisements, or parents and loved ones who were confused themselves) when the reality is that they want our money.

Well.. that was long. Hope it was helpful. I know I make typos and that my thoughts don't always flow, but I just sit down and write what is on my mind.....just like food...I would go crazy trying to make everything perfect. I am not publishing a book, I am posting a blog. Take it or leave it, but I am giving it raw!

I love you Daddy!